The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical features and demographic data of patients with idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM) and to compare the results of conservative versus surgical treatment protocols. The demographic data, clinical findings, microbiological and pathologic features, scanning and treatment methods, recurrence, and recovery rates of 77 patients were analyzed retrospectively. The patients were divided into two groups based on the type of treatment received. Core biopsies were used to diagnose 37 patients: 26 using incisional biopsies and 14 using excisional biopsies. Of the patient population with IGM, 31 were treated with surgical excision, one with a simple mastectomy, and one with a subcutaneous mastectomy combined with a breast implant, whereas 44 were treated with steroids. The recovery rates of the 44 patients who were treated conservatively were 6 (1-15) months while for the 33 patients who were treated surgically, it was 1 (1-5) month (p=0.001). Nine patients from the conservative treatment group experienced a recurrence while there were no recurrences in the surgically treated group (p=0.009). Among all patients, the recurrence rate was 11.7% (9/77) while the average follow-up period was 16.57 +/- 18.57months. As a comparative study between conservative treatment protocols and surgical ones for patients with idiopathic granulomatous mastitis (IGM), this study is the largest to date. A wide surgical excision is the preferred approach for treating patients with IGM because of the low recurrence rate.